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The myth of optimal nutrition for your period. Focus on these 5 areas first! (part 1)

Joel Radley Functional Nutrition

Joel Radley

The myth of optimal nutrition for your period. Focus on these 5 areas first! (part 1) joel radley functional nutrition

There are almost opposing opinions about what the ideal nutrition is for a woman in her cycle at what stages.

To seed cycle or not

To abstain from meat or not

To increase veggies or not

To aid gut health or not

To fast or not

I call this myopic approach BS in the sense that a nutrient dense or as I like to say energy-dense nutrition is essential 365 days a year.

We’re talking wholefoods that humans were designed to eat

-Meat

-Organs

-Shellfish

-Fish

-Vegetables

-Fruits

-Raw dairy

-Properly prepared grains

Etc

However the greater one’s understanding of the:

-Period/Menstruation

-Ovulatory

-Follicular

-& luteal phases

The more specific tweaks one can make to aid and support that process of one’s cycle. Yet all of this is overkill if your foundation is not solid. Hence rather than bio-hacking the cycle you can consider bio-harmony of your cycle. Oh and this principle goes for men too. Rather than focusing on what one should eat differently on every day of your cycle which would be a logistical nightmare for hunter gatherers in times long gone. What we can say is 5 crucial factors that affect hormone production:

The building blocks aka cholesterol, the liver’s ability to conjugate and rid the body of used hormones like estrogen via sulfation and glucuronidation, as well as the adrenals inflammation response and inflammation management in general as your making cortisol to put out the inflammatory flame of inflammation over using the cholesterol to make sex hormones needed for healthy hormone balance. Lets unpack this.

Cholesterol: The Foundation of Human Sex Hormones

All human sex hormones are derived from cholesterol, which is vital for a healthy endocrine system. The body produces about 80% of the cholesterol it needs, with the remaining 20% coming from dietary sources. Before we focus on period hacks like alleged seed cycling or supplements, we need the building blocks of hormones to be a primary focus, these sources are primarily animal fats, including:

  • Egg yolks
  • Butter fat
  • Lard and bacon
  • Tallow and beef fat
  • Duck and goose fat
  • Schmaltz and poultry skin
  • Fish skin
  • Fish eggs
  • Wild seafood

Cholesterol is the precursor to pregnenolone, a key hormone. From pregnenolone, the body produces essential hormones like estrogens, progestins (progesterone), testosterone, DHEA, DHT, and androstenedione. These hormones are crucial for both sex and adrenal organ functions.


Unfortunately we can’t just focus on nutrients in the individual status. Whilst it has helped us learn the functions of aminos acids, fatty acids, saccharides, vitamins and minerals etc, it has also shown us that nutrients function in either synergistic or antagonistic ways. As they are never found alone rather existing amongst vitamins, enzymes, minerals and co -factors we need to nature we need to know of its relationships. 

When it comes to nutrients which are vitamins and minerals, there are two types of relationships, synergistic or antagonistic. Trace minerals tend to cause the most concern. This includes Cobalt, Chromium, Copper, Iron, iodine, Selenium, Manganese, molybdenum and Zinc. 

Using supplements is not ideal to balance nutrient imbalances and excessive nutrition protocols too. The mineral wheel can illustrate interactions between mineral interactions in the soil and the human body system. If a mineral is pointing to another mineral it means that there is a deficiency of that mineral or there is an interference with its metabolism as you can see on the mineral chart above. The mineral wheel here showcases some main minerals but there are over 24 that we need for survival. Whilst some mineral relationships are generally known such as magnesium-calcium, what is not as well known is each mineral then branches off to others such as from calcium to zinc or to manganese. This is why it does not make much sense long term at least to just eat meat if it helps with gut issues, but then trying to balance minerals with purely electrolytes high in sodium and phosphorus, for it will throw off other minerals.

The Liver’s Crucial Role in Hormone Regulation

The liver plays a vital role in managing sex hormones. Again rather than focusing on alleged superfoods to act as magic bullets we need to enhance liver detoxification. After hormones have completed their tasks, they are transported to the liver for conjugation, forming glucuronides and sulfates. The liver converts potent estrogens (estradiol and estrone) into the less potent estriol. About 20% of these substances are excreted in bile and eliminated through the colon, with the rest excreted via urine.

When the liver’s detox pathways, such as glucuronidation and sulfation, are impaired by toxic overload from environmental factors, its function weakens. This leads to increased harmful activity of estrogens in the body. Estrogen, being an anabolic hormone, promotes cellular proliferation and tissue growth. If estrogen isn’t balanced with progesterone and the liver’s detoxification is compromised, excess estrogen can cause cancer and other harmful metabolic processes, resulting in a state of estrogen dominance which will lead to dysregulated menstrual cycles. 

joel radley optimal nutrition for your menstruation period

Tackling Hormonal Imbalance and Inflammation

Hormonal imbalance often ties back to inflammation, frequently expressed as pain. Pain is the body’s signal for attention. Inflammation is now considered a root cause of many chronic diseases. The adrenal hormone cortisol helps fight inflammation. However, chronic inflammation causes the body to prioritize cortisol production over sex hormones, leading to hormonal imbalances. People with lower cholesterol are even more vulnerable since cholesterol is essential for cortisol production.

The Role of Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are crucial for managing inflammation and stress. Ideally, we should have short bursts of stress and long periods of rest, but modern lifestyles often reverse this. Chronic stress redirects pregnenolone (a hormone precursor) to cortisol production, depleting resources for sex hormones, resulting in low libido.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)

Read my article on specific details of the HTMA I offer in my clinic in person in my nutrition Harley street London clinic or online here:

There is a requirement for an equilibrium between the nutrients we consume. This can be achieved by a varied diet to some degree. When the equilibrium is not there we experience negative effects. To Avoid subclinical deficiencies followed by illness or worse, we can use the hair mineral tissue analysis to pick up on imbalances or excess and rectify with appropriate changes to one nutrition as well as being mindful of balancing meals. This is how we can learn of our mineral interrelationship. Each mineral can not be affected without affecting two other minerals and each will then affect a further two more. A lot of this is dependent on biochemical reactions enzymes and cofactors. Ultimately even traditional ancestral tribes whilst they are generally the same foods due to lack of foreign importation, they certainly seasonally which provided that mix. Unfortunately today many can go eating the same, possibly good quality foods all year round which is against the seasons and against nature leading to imbalances albeit with the best intentions. The hair tissue mineral analysis part of all my programs at my harley street nutrition clinic or online, measures mineral status with a small amount of your hair. It tells you your balance, if in excess or deficiency and toxic elements such as heavy metals like aluminum, mercury arsenic or lead

Common Stressors Leading to Adrenal Dysfunction

  • Unresolved emotional stress (anxiety, fear, anger, etc.)
  • Late hours and lack of sleep
  • Overwork (physical or mental)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Refined sugars
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Chronic pain or illness
  • Severe allergies
  • Trauma or surgery
  • Corticosteroids
  • Synthetic vitamin C

Signs of Adrenal Weakness

  • Afternoon sluggishness
  • General fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of libido
  • Sugar cravings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Arthritic tendencies
  • Increased perspiration
  • Swollen ankles
  • Allergies
  • Poor circulation
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Aversion to hot weather
  • Low cholesterol
  • Dizziness
  • Salt cravings
  • Bronzing of the skin
  • Nervous exhaustion

Lets not forget thyroid Health

Morning sluggishness despite adequate sleep often points to thyroid issues. “Thyroid hormones increase hepatic sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) production, which is also regulated by hepatocyte nuclear factor-4α (HNF-4α) in response to changes in the metabolic state of the liver ” (1). If your thyroid is underactive known as Hypothyroidism, your capacity to make sex hormone binding globulin is going to be impaired leading to more sex hormones riding around than wanted. This is often overlooked, so thorough testing is vital.Hypothyroidism’s primary symptom is fatigue. Other signs include brain fog, ovarian cysts, tinnitus, tendon issues, infertility, insulin resistance, constipation, anxiety, depression, night blindness, ringing in the ears, facial edema, and weight gain. People with hypothyroidism generally prefer warm weather, unlike those with adrenal insufficiency.

By addressing inflammation and hormonal imbalances through proper testing and tailored treatments, you can support your body’s natural ability to self-regulate and achieve optimal health. In my clinic in london or online I treat hormonal imbalance with nutritional therapy, emotional healing & the root cause protocol. I utilise hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) functional blood tests and other useful tests if required such as DUTCH Test and salivary hormone testing.

My next post will include a general breakdown of the important energy dense food groups as a guide for what to focus on.

1 to 1 professional support? 

Whilst knowledge is power, sometimes we cant do it alone, either there is too much information, we need someone to coach us, we dont even know exactly what our issue is, or we are dissatisfied with the service of the consultants we have seen thus far. If this sounds like you, worry no more.

My Four-Pillar Protocol is designed to heal you on four planes, the physical is the bulk of our work together (Nutrition + Exercise + Grounding + Therapeutics), yet we will also touch on the emotional (Self-enquiry, Experiential-therapy, Connection to others + Objectivity to emotions), the Mental (Perspective + Meditation + Goals + Objectivity to thought), & the Spiritual ( Connection to higher self & all + Gratitude + Breath-work to reconnect.)

It is assumed a nutritionist will force someone on a diet, this could not be further from the truth. Rather we work to change how you perceive and eat food, learning about its many healing properties to lead to long term sustainable positive change in your health and well-being. 

I will assess your overall health including your medical history

Looking into lifestyle & emotional factors that most practitioners wont

Individualize the protocol to implement suitable changes for you

You will be sent a bespoke eating plan

You will be sent a bespoke therapeutics plan if needed

Lab testing will be recommended if necessary

Finally follow up or pay-as-you-go appointments enable you to get the hands on one to one coaching with me throughout the healing journey 

Book a free call now on my calender booker 

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Picture of About Joel Radley

About Joel Radley

Joel Radley dipNT, BSc (Hons), mBANT, mCNHC, functional nutritionist specialising in root-cause natural healthcare, ancestral eating & lifestyle. Developer of the four-pillar protocol to help clients holistically, covering nutrition, energetics, emotions and mindfulness. I help concerns of the thyroid, adrenal, fatigue, hormones, gut health, eating disorders & chronic pain.

For over a decade supporting individuals like you and me, high performers, creatives, public figures and entrepreneurs, unlock their dormant healing power and optimize their health potential. I hope you will enjoy the videos, articles & recipes I share on my website, blog & social media. If you have a deeper concern that requires the help of an expert practitioner, do not hesitate and join the waiting list by booking a free call on the calendar. Warmly, Joel

Picture of About Joel Radley

About Joel Radley

Joel Radley dipNT, BBC (Hons), mBANT, mCNHC, nutritional therapist and naturopath specialising in root-cause natural healthcare, ancestral eating & lifestyle.

Developer of the four-pillar protocol to help clients holistically, covering nutrition, energetics, emotions and mindfulness. I help concerns of the thyroid, adrenal, fatigue, hormones, gut health, eating disorders & chronic pain.

For over a decade supporting individuals like you and me, high performers, creatives, public figures and entrepreneurs, unlock their dormant healing power and optimize their health potential.

I hope you will enjoy the free videos, articles & recipes I share on my website, blog and social media. If you have a deeper concern that requires the help of an expert practitioner, do not hesitate and join the waiting list by booking a free call on the calendar. Warmly, Joel