Gut health is all the rage at the moment… and for a good reason! There is a link between the health of your gut microbiome and your hormones.
There are a few important processes going on in your gut microbiome that directly impact your hormonal balance. So let’s jump straight in…
Insulin is in part regulated by Lactobacillus reuteri which is stored in the gut. Inflammation is a key symptom of an imbalanced microbiome, so a deficiency of this beneficial flora makes it even worse.
An imbalanced gut microbiome is also one of the causes of a low-performing thyroid, also known as Hypothyroidism. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss.
The precursor hormone Vitamin D3, which is crucial to health on many levels, is not absorbed well by the body if gut health is not optimal. Chronic deficiencies lead to a host of other problems.
Gut health also influences healthy cholesterol levels. These are precursors to maintaining a balance of Progesterone and Estrogen.
Studies indicate that poor gut health increases the risk of estrogen-related diseases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and even breast cancer.
Your microbiome or, more specifically, your estrobolome is made up of microbes that are responsible for metabolising estrogen in the gut. Once ‘deactivated’ by the liver, estrogen is sent off to be excreted through your bowel. These microbes produce an enzyme that has the ability to ‘reactivate’ estrogen, which can then be recirculated throughout your body. When your microbiome is balanced, the estrobolome maintains estrogen homeostasis. However, if you are experiencing dysbiosis and an unbalanced estrobolome, excess amounts of this enzyme are produced, and without fibre to bind to and carry it out, excess estrogen is reactivated and recirculated. This can lead to estrogen dominance and symptoms such as breast tenderness, PMS, heavy periods and fluid retention. So be sure to eat foods that are high in fibre!
Poor gut health also affects your body’s ability to produce serotonin, the brain hormone that regulates your mood and appetite. Almost all your serotonin is produced and stored in your gut, so it’s easy to see why people with unhealthy microbiomes also often experience depression, anxiety and poor appetite! Serotonin is also influenced by your estrogen levels.
Now that we understand the link between gut health and hormone health, we can start looking at how to heal your gut and balance your hormones. More about that in our upcoming blogs…