Estrogen and Your Gut- What is the Connection?
What is the Estrobolome?
Our gut microbiome (the collection of bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract) has a significant impact on our overall health. While we often associate the gut with digestive functions, its role is far-reaching and crucial to a number of other bodily functions including hormone regulation.
The estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the gut capable of metabolizing estrogen. Together with the bacteria in our gut, the estrobolome affects the levels of estrogen circulating in the body.
Estrogen plays a vital role in both the male and female bodies. In men, estrogen assists in maintaining libido levels as well as aids in the maturation of sperm. In women, it helps regulate body fat, affects libido and mood, and is essential to cardiovascular, brain, and bone health. When hormone levels such as estrogen are imbalanced, optimal health cannot be achieved.
A Healthy Gut--Why It’s Important
The first--and most crucial--step to regulating hormone levels is improving the health of one’s gut. Not only does the gut microbiome regulate hormones, it regulates neurotransmitters as well. It also impacts our immune system and contributes to the absorption of nutrients. As such, a healthy gut is key to a healthy person.
When the microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome is producing optimal levels of betaglucuronidase--an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates and the absorption of bilirubin and flavonoids. Elevated betaglucuronidase levels, however, are associated with: obesity, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, mood disorders, heart disease, endometriosis, and metabolic syndrome.
If the estrobolome is healthy, it minimizes the reabsorption of estrogen during the detoxification process--thus ensuring hormonal balance. If unhealthy, the estrobolome allows excreted estrogen to be reabsorbed. This creates estrogen dominance which can put one at risk of developing a variety of chronic issues such as breast cancer and thyroid issues.
How to Achieve a Healthy Gut
If you suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, skin irritations, autoimmune conditions, weight changes, and digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea), an unhealthy gut may be to blame. Luckily, adhering to the following protocol can help improve the condition of one’s gut:
Diet and supplementation: consider a diet low on the glycemic index and consume a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Also, supplement with prebiotics and probiotics.
Environmental concerns: estrogens may also be found in our environment. Avoid soya, tofu, and tempeh (containing Phytoestrogens) and plastics (containing Xenoestrogens).
Alcohol: should be consumed in moderation as it contributes to estrogen dominance and increases the risk of estrogen-related cancers.
Antibiotics: can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause overgrowth.
Exercise: helps support the detoxification process.
If you suffer from symptoms of an unhealthy gut, it’s important to remember more than just your digestive health may be compromised--your hormones may be at risk, too.
At Total Body Health, we can assess the condition of both your gut and hormones and determine the best course of action to help you achieve optimum wellness. Call today for your FREE consultation.