10 Ways Healthy Fats Support Hormone Health

An image of different kinds of fats on the table

Healthy fats like Omega 3s and MCT oil are not only delicious and satiating -- they also help balance hormones, from cortisol (stress hormone) to insulin (glucose controlling hormone)! Our bars are filled with various healthy fats from almonds, hemp protein, and coconut MCT oil.  

 

  1. Improves insulin resistance and may promote weight loss

  2. Lowers triglycerides and improves heart health

  3. Improves mood

  4. Reduces inflammation

  5. Promotes the feeling of fullness

  6. Improves fertility in men and women

  7. May lower androgens (#7.5 And help regulate periods!)

  8. Healthier hair and skin!

  9. Reduces cravings 

  10. Reduces fatigue/ boosts energy

 

 

Read on to see how healthy fats function to provide these amazing benefits!

 

In addition to the amazing hormone benefits above, evidence shows that healthy fats reduce the risk of heart disease (Russo 2008, Kondreddy 2015), improve brain function (Regar 2004, Pan 2010), reduce the risk and severity of dementia (Robinson 2010), and alleviate inflammation in arthritis sufferers (Wall 2010).  



1. Improves insulin resistance and may promote weight loss

Studies show that medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) can improve glucose metabolism, aid in blood sugar control, and reduce body weight (Han 2007, Nagao 2009, Eckel 1992). It has shown to help with insulin resistance, when the body's cells don't respond normally to insulin.

 

One study of 45 women with PCOS showed healthy fats from omega 3 significantly decreased body mass index, insulin, HOMA levels, and testosterone levels and also may be effective in improving hirsutism and insulin resistance (Oner 2013). Omega 3 fatty acids have also shown to improve insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity (Gao 2017, Sears 2015).

 

2. Lowers triglycerides and improves heart health

If you have PCOS, metabolic disorder, or diabetes, symptoms like weight gain and insulin resistance can impact your triglyceride levels. Also approximately 70% of women with PCOS have dyslipidemia, which can be caused by high triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol) (Kim 2013). Many studies over the past few decades show that healthy fats help lower triglycerides significantly (Mirmasoumi 2018, Hauenschild 2010, Mattar 2009, Eslick 2009, Farmer 2001)!

 

And for general heart health, MCT oil specifically may reduce risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and body mass index (St-Onge 2003 B, Cardoso 2015, Kondreddy 2016, Rudkowska 2006, Bourque 2003).


 

3. Improves mood

It’s common for people with hormonal disorders like PCOS to struggle with mood, but healthy fats can help (Pastore 2011, Dokras 2011, Rosenblat 2014). 

 

Specifically two types of omega 3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), have shown to lower levels of depression (Chttery 2016, Ross 2007, Singh 2014)!

 

4. Reduces inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory molecules that can bind to specific proteins that can decrease insulin resistance in an organ (Sears 2015) and its anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce period pain (Carlson 2015)! 

 

The anti-inflammatory power of omega-3 can also help with inflammation in people with intestinal disorders (Camuesco 2006).

 

5. Promotes the feeling of fullness

Hormonal imbalance can cause symptoms like intense cravings, hunger, and overeating. Studies show that consuming healthy fats with your meals triggers the release of hormones that promote the feeling of fullness and satiety (Mandøe 2015, Serrano 1997, Gibbons 2015).

 

6. Improves fertility in men and women

Studies show that Omega 3 fatty acids can benefit both male and female fertility (Gaskin 2018, Chiu 2018, Safarinejad 2011).

 

A study of 46 overweight and obese women undergoing IVF showed that higher intake of healthy fats improved pregnancy rates (Moran 2016). Another study found that omega-3 fatty acids may delay ovarian aging and improve oocyte quality for women over 35 (Nehra 2017).


And a review of three studies on the effect of Omega 3s on male infertility showed that omega-3 fatty acids significantly improved sperm motility in infertile men (Hosseini 2019).


7. May lower androgens (#7.5 And help regulate periods!)

Women with higher omega-3 levels in their blood have been shown to have lower androgen levels (the hormones that contribute to acne and unwanted hair growth), stabilized moods and reduced chances of depression (Nowak 2019, Salek 2019).


A study of 78 women with PCOS, showed that omega 3s helped regulate their irregular menstrual cycles and significantly lower testosterone concentration (Nadjarzadeh 2013).


8. Healthier hair and skin!

Omega-3s may hydrate the skin, fight red, dry, or itchy skin, and help skin disorders like psoriasis. Studies show omega-3s appear to improve skin barrier function, sealing in moisture and keeping out irritants (Kawamura 2011, Balbás 2011, Neukam 2010, Upala 2017).

 

A few studies have shown omega 3s can boost hair growth and reduce hair loss (Kang 2018, Le Floc'h 2015). And some studies show that omega 3s can even reduce acne (Rubin 2008, Khayef 2012, Jung 2014, Bowe 2010)!


9. Reduces cravings 


Healthful fats may help maintain a balance of hormones involved in appetite and satiety (Kozimor 2003, Parra 2008). One study showed that fatty acids during a meal significantly reduced hunger. (Maljaars 2009).


10. Reduces fatigue/ boosts energy

Healthy fats help keep your blood sugar stable so that you don’t have an energy crash after a meal. Studies show omega 3 can increase energy, particularly for endurance and fitness (Howe 2014).

 

MCT oils specifically which has one of the highest ratios of medium chain fatty acid function to give you an energy boost (Schönfeld 2016).


How should you eat fat?


Healthy fats are crucial for a hormone-happy diet, so my philosophy is the more the better! I try to get a healthy fat in with every meal and snack for all its benefits, but particularly because they help regulate the post-meal insulin spike!


You can find plenty of healthy fats in our bars but my other favorite healthy fat sources are:

  • Wild-caught and responsibly-sourced salmon, tuna, shrimp, and crab

  • Coconut MCT oil 

  • Hemp seeds

  • Almond/peanut butter

  • Pasture-raised eggs

  • Avocados

  • Walnuts

  • Olive oil and olives

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Ground flax seeds

  • Chia seeds

  • Tahini

  • Brussel sprouts (high in omega 3!)

 

If you still don’t think you can get enough healthy fats in your diet, you can purchase a marine algae or fish oil supplement. A good place to start is between one gram (1,000 mg) and four grams (4,000 mg) of a combination EPA and DHA supplement every day. But of course talk to your physician first (especially if you are on blood-thinners)!

 

 
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Salek M, Clark CCT, Taghizadeh M. N-3 fatty acids as preventive and therapeutic agents in attenuating PCOS complications. EXCLI J. 2019 Jul 25;18:558-575.
Mirmasoumi G, Fazilati M, Foroozanfard F. The Effects of Flaxseed Oil Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation on Metabolic Status of Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2018 Apr; 126(4):222-228.
Gaskins AJ, Chavarro JE. Diet and fertility: a review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Apr;218(4):379-389.
Nadjarzadeh A, Dehghani Firouzabadi R. The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Iran J Reprod Med. 2013;11(8):665–672.

Oner G, Muderris II. Efficacy of omega-3 in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2013 Apr; 33(3):289-91.