Oranges And Hormonal Balance 


Despite their small size, oranges are jam-packed with vitamins and adjective minerals. Their benefits have been well-known for centuries and were even used to cure pirates of scurvy from the 16th Century.1 However, new evidence has suggested their potential efficacious role in hormone balance. With most of the findings suggesting their effect on female hormones, the orange’s reach is wider, with research implying their utility in reducing insulin sensitivity and the metabolism of various other key hormones. 

Oranges have been shown to regulate levels of key hormones, these include cortisol,2 oestrogen,3 insulin,4 and several thyroid hormones,5 all of which contribute to maintaining health. Despite these hormones hugely affecting the health, well-being, and mood of all humans, the regulation of oestrogen is specifically important to females. Orange’s main effect is on insulin and helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, which in tandem, is paramount to keeping hormones on an even keel.9 Oranges in their natural form are far better at regulating hormones than in juiced form,6 due to the loss of fibre when juiced. Vitamin C plays an important role in hormone balance and may even have anti-cancer properties.7,8     

In this article, we’ll explore how oranges can impact hormone balance and the effects they could have on your health. 

The role of hormones in human health has recently become an increasingly researched topic. With more than 50 hormones synthesised endogenously, and from various organs in the body, their responsibility in metabolic regulation and behaviour is not to be disregarded. Importantly, emerging data supports the importance of hormones, specifically insulin and hunger hormones such as ghrelin, in diabetes and obesity (cite). With the growth of “diabesity” on a global scale posing a great threat to both healthcare systems, and our general well-being, the awareness of the benefit of balanced hormones is more important than ever. 

What are hormones? 

Hormones are commonly called “chemical messengers”. They travel throughout the blood to their target sites and tissues to control numerous bodily functions, from widening blood vessels to the release of eggs from the ovary. However, the accumulation massively impacts the way our bodies feel and function. 

Nutritional Profile of Oranges

To add to their inherent, natural sweetness, oranges harbor a mountain of essential nutrients. However, their real effect on hormones stems from three key nutrients, which are vitamin C, folate, and fiber. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. This commonly used term is very important on a cellular level, as it denotes that vitamin C can undo, and reduce the effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can accumulate in the cell. These chemicals (ROS) can damage cells, and their pathways, giving rise to cancerous mutations and divisions.12  More specifically, this oxidative stress, caused by higher numbers of ROS in the cell, can occur in endocrine glands. These glands, which produce key hormones, can be affected by oxidative stress.13  Moreover, heightened ROS can also be caused by higher secretion rates of stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine.14 As vitamin C aids the battle against these molecules, it is clear how oranges promote balanced hormones. 


As we have already seen that ROS can interrupt cellular mechanisms, it is important to note their damaging impact on DNA. However, the second key nutrient in oranges, folate, can support the synthesis of genetic material, such as DNA.15 To focus on its specific visible benefits in the body, folate has been demonstrated to hugely impact reproductive processes, such as ovulation. Its derivate, folic acid is also recommended in pregnancy, to reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.16 


Fiber is another great attribute of the orange’s nutritional profile. Firstly, it has been shown to increase satiety when consumed in greater amounts17, and in turn reduce cravings after meals.18 This is important in balancing hormones, as eating balanced meals, without high-sugar foods , is highly beneficial for stabilising blood sugars. 

How oranges impact hormone regulation

With the knowledge of oranges’ contribution to blood sugar levels, it is vital to consider how these factors associated with the health profile of oranges truly aid re-balancing hormones. 

Arguably, the most important hormone oranges interact with is insulin. Necessary for sugar to enter the body’s cells, where it can be later used for energy, and also to facilitate a number of cellular activities, insulin is vital for homeostasis. More importantly, insulin has many complex interactions with other key hormones, such as oestrogen, progesterone, cortisol as well as growth hormones such as IGF-1.19 Each of these hormones have diverse roles in our bodily functions, from menstruation to mood. In cases of insulin insensitivity, such as diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), where high levels of insulin have caused bodily cells to not resist its actions, a plethora of health issues ensue. In diabetes, pancreas cells can lose all ability to secrete insulin, giving rise to a number of health risks, such as diabetic retinopathy.20 In PCOS, this resistance to insulin is particularly problematic, due to its impact on oestrogen, and the further effect of terminating egg release, and menstruation.21  Further, one meta-analysis suggested that low-carb diets, which outline low fruit intake, can disrupt the menstrual cycle, and send hormones out of kilter.22 This is because the liver requires glycogen, which is what insulin is converted into for storage, to convert thyroid hormones into their more active forms such as T3, fuel metabolism. 

Health benefits of maintaining hormone balance

There are multiple health benefits to maintaining hormone balance, and this maintenance stretches both mental and physical health.  

Hormones, such as T3, are key in weight loss, and increased cortisol levels have been shown to contribute to abdominal fat.10  Combined with insulin resistance, such hormonal imbalances can lead to life-altering diseases such as obesity and diabetes. 

To focus on the mental health benefits provided by balancing hormones, the research is vast. In particular, these effects on mood are most significant for people assigned female at birth (AFAB). Furthermore, this is seen in AFAB during all stages of life, with balanced hormones reducing mood swings premenstrually, as well as reducing key symptoms during the menopause, such as hot flushes. 

Moreover, hormone balances are key in optimizing fertility and bone health. Many studies have highlighted the increased likelihood of conception when oestrogen and progesterone are released in both the correct amount, in the appropriate windows.11  Progesterone is also pivotal in maintaining the endometrium lining, necessary in order for embryonic implantation and growth.  However, due to the vast roles of hormones, maintaining hormone balance is vital for all aspects of life, from beneficial sleep and elevating energy levels. 

Incorporating oranges into your diet 

Implementing oranges into your diet should be fairly easy and enjoyable, especially when they pack such a sweet punch. Another advantage of oranges is their size, making them a great snack, and easy to put in a lunchbox! The slices are also a great addition to salads. 

The members of the orange family also grow in different sizes, so you may want to pick different types, such as satsumas, or easy peelers, to add some variety. 

It’s important to note however, that orange juices, and orange-flavoured beverages and snacks don’t have anywhere near the same impact on your hormones. Although they might be sweet, and also extremely palliative, these foods tend to contain less fibre and contain non-naturally occurring sugars, such as glucose and artificial sweeteners. Oranges contain fructose, which tends to have a duller impact on insulin spikes.9  


What number of oranges need to be consumed to feel these impacts? 

In truth, consuming extra vitamin C is a huge plus, in any dosage. However, the USDA recommends the daily dose of vitamin C is approximately 70mg, which can be provided by 1 whole orange. It is also worth noting that vitamin C toxicity is apparent, yet, this would be in drastically high numbers of oranges consumed.  

Can I get these vitamins elsewhere? What about allergies? What if I don’t like oranges? 

Vitamin C supplements are available and can be a good alternative for fast absorption and simple consumption. Vitamin C also occurs in a variety of other fruits, such as kiwis, strawberries, and pineapple. However, these fruits tend to be more seasonal and can tend to be higher in price. 

Some individuals are allergic to oranges, in which case, these alternatives are much better options. 

What about other citrus fruits? 

Other citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, have been shown to also support hormone health, and boost immune and liver function. Again, they are great alternatives for those who have a distaste for oranges or have allergic reactions upon consumption of oranges. 


It is clear that oranges are an easy and delicious way to aid in maintaining the optimal balance of hormones. This is completed through their antioxidant properties and the role of fiber in gut health. However, it’s important to note that eating oranges is a glimmer in implementing healthy choices and lifestyles and is not solely responsible for hormone balance. Ensure you’re making informed dietary choices and prioritising balanced meals and whole foods. 

So, the next time you pick an orange, remember that you’re not just having a tasty snack, but also keeping your body’s hormones in perfect harmony!


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  • Pour F, Arman S, Jaafarzadeh M. Effect of aromatherapy with orange essential oil on salivary cortisol and pulse rate in children during dental treatment: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Advanced Biomedical Research. 2013;2(1):10.
  • Desmawati D, Sulastri D. A Phytoestrogens and Their Health Effect. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences [Internet]. 2019 Feb 14;7(3):495–9. Available from:
  • What superstar foods are good for diabetes? | ADA [Internet]. Available from:
  • Uduak OA, Ani EJ, Etoh ECI, Macstephen AO. Comparative effect of Citrus sinensis and carbimazole on serum T4, T3 and TSH levels. Nigerian Medical Journal : Journal of the Nigeria Medical Association [Internet]. 2014;55(3):230–4. Available from:
  • Ruxton CHS, Myers M. Fruit Juices: Are They Helpful or Harmful? An Evidence Review. Nutrients. 2021 May 27;13(6):1815.
  • Rastegar Panah M, Tahir I, Garcia-Bailo B, Lo K, Jarvi K, El-Sohemy A. Ascorbic acid is associated with favourable hormonal profiles among infertile males. Frontiers in Reproductive Health [Internet]. 2023 Jun 8;5:1143579. Available from:
  • Pawlowska E, Szczepanska J, Blasiak J. Pro- and Antioxidant Effects of Vitamin C in Cancer in correspondence to Its Dietary and Pharmacological Concentrations. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity [Internet]. 2019 Dec 24;2019. Available from:
  • Papandreou D, Magriplis E, Abboud M, Taha Z, Karavolia E, Karavolias C, et al. Consumption of Raw Orange, 100% Fresh Orange Juice, and Nectar- Sweetened Orange Juice—Effects on Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels on Healthy Subjects. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 10;11(9):2171.
  • Abraham SB, Rubino D, Sinaii N, Ramsey S, Nieman LK. Cortisol, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome: A cross-sectional study of obese subjects and review of the literature. Obesity. 2013 Jan;21(1):E105–17.
  • Bendarska-Czerwińska A, Zmarzły N, Morawiec E, Panfil A, Bryś K, Czarniecka J, et al. Endocrine disorders and fertility and pregnancy: An update. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2023 Jan 17;13.
  • Waris G, Ahsan H. Reactive oxygen species: role in the development of cancer and various chronic conditions. Journal of Carcinogenesis [Internet]. 2006;5(1):14. Available from:
  • Mancini A, Silvestrini A. Oxidative Stress in Metabolic and Endocrine Diseases: Basic and Translational Aspects. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022 Apr 14;23(8):4346.
  • Flaherty RL, Owen M, Fagan-Murphy A, Intabli H, Healy D, Patel A, et al. Glucocorticoids induce production of reactive oxygen species/reactive nitrogen species and DNA damage through an iNOS mediated pathway in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research [Internet]. 2017 Mar 24;19(1). Available from:
  • Crider KS, Yang TP, Berry RJ, Bailey LB. Folate and DNA Methylation: A Review of Molecular Mechanisms and the Evidence for Folate’s Role. Advances in Nutrition. 2012 Jan 1;3(1):21–38.
  • Imbard A, Benoist JF, Blom H. Neural Tube Defects, Folic Acid and Methylation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [Internet]. 2013 Sep 17;10(9):4352–89. Available from:
  • Salleh SN, Fairus AAH, Zahary MN, Bhaskar Raj N, Mhd Jalil AM. Unravelling the Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre Supplementation on Energy Intake and Perceived Satiety in Healthy Adults: Evidence from Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised-Controlled Trials. Foods. 2019 Jan 6;8(1):15.
  • Akhlaghi M. The role of dietary fibers in regulating appetite, an overview of mechanisms and weight consequences. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2022 Oct 4;1–12.
  • Rahman MS. Role of Insulin in Health and Disease: An Update. International Journal of Molecular Sciences [Internet]. 2021 Jun 15;22(12):6403. Available from:
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  • McGrice M, Porter J. The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diets on Fertility Hormones and Outcomes in Overweight and Obese Women: A Systematic Review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2017 Feb 27;9(3):204. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Mia Hart

Mia - BS (Hons), UCL, London

Mia is a Medical Writer, specialising in Market Access, with a strong academic background in biomedical and life sciences. She has experience in both project management of pharmaceutical publications and medical affairs, as well as prior roles in various clinical settings.

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