The last concern for hormone balance is fatty acid balance. Fatty acids are precursors to compounds called prostaglandins, and prostaglandins, in turn, modulate hormone receptor sites and our response to hormones. Excess omega-6 fat can lead to a number of different problems, and one of the problems that this can cause is altered hormone receptor function. Too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, the long-chain omega-3’s like EPA and DHA, essentially end up driving the production of prostaglandins that are proinflammatory.
So you have not enough omega-3 and too much omega-6, which leads to an inflammatory environment, but if you get sufficient amounts of omega-3 by eating cold-water fatty fish or taking fish oil, EPA, and DHA, that promotes the conversion of the prostaglandins into less inflammatory substances or pathways. Then EPA and DHA, the longer-chain omega-3’s, also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
With all of these systems, we should note that they are important to focus on in their own right, but they all are also interacting with each other. Blood sugar problems can lead to adrenal and HPA axis issues and vice versa, gut issues can cause adrenal and HPA problems, and having chronic adrenal fatigue can definitely make it more likely that you’re going to have gut issues.
Inflammation from fatty acid imbalance can affect the gut and the adrenals and blood sugar. It just goes on and on. If we put these essential systems on a piece of paper and we started drawing lines between them, it would become like a big web, and that’s really the challenge.