Why Gut Bacteria is the Boss of Your Hormones
Hormones and the Microbiome
Turns out a certain set of gut bacteria and more specifically certain bacterial genes, called the estrobolome, produce an essential enzyme that helps metabolize estrogen. So the gut is part of the elimination system that is vital in ushering hormones out of the body. It's actually considered an important endocrine organ.
What exactly is the microbiome?
It's friendly bacteria, aka “gut flora,” that makes up your microbiome. It is a main player in regulating your hormones, especially your estrogen levels. Estrogen-dominance as a result of a poorly functioning microbiome leads to every hormonal imbalance symptom or sickness you can think of – infertility, PMS, low libido, cramps and heavy bleeding, and PCOS, as well as estrogen-led cancers like breast cancer.
There is about 5lbs of bacteria in the human body and the quality of their environment – the healthiness of the microbial life plus the diversity – governs health in so many ways. A poor internal ecosystem caused by bad diet, exposure to chemicals and stress, will suppress the good bacteria, promote the bad bacteria, and will lead to a toxic build up of hormones as well as other signs of systemic inflammation.
How do I know if I have a microbiome imbalance or ‘Dysbiosis’ ??
Dysbiosis is a microbiome or gut flora imbalance. These are the first obvious symptoms and signs you will see if this is something that you suffer from badly:
- Bloating and gas
- Acne and skin issues
- Change in Poop - frequency & color / texture
- Foggy brain
- Frequent illness
- Stubborn weight gain
- Vomiting and diarrhea
That’s right ladies – dysbiosis in the gut could be the reason for stubborn weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Gut flora is linked to your appetite, digestion and how easily you feel full and satisfied - leptin and ghrelin, our hunger hormones. Studies have shown that obese people have a less healthy and less diverse microbiome to those that are slimmer, and as people who are obese slim down, their gut flora changes. You need healthy gut flora to break down fats and sugars and get them in transit out of your body.
How to maintain a healthy microbiome for happier hormones
Our mainstream lifestyle works against our microbiome in relation to what we generally eat and how we live.
Here are few healthy changes that can support our gut flora. :
- Get rid of all the white stuff – dairy, sugar and gluten.
- Eat fermented foods rich in good bacteria like kimchi and sauerkraut – a couple of tablespoons a day will encourage the good guys.
- Take a trusted probiotic supplement from a well-established company like Mega Food or Jarrow.
- Avoid antibiotics when possible. This includes eating meat that contains antibiotics and going quickly to antibiotics every time you have a cough or cold. Overuse will harm your estrobolome. As the antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria, they also kill off the good bacteria and it can be very difficult for the microbiome to bounce back to a healthy balance.
The birth control pill damages the microbiome as much as antibiotics. So for us that used bc for 10+ years, there's lots of damage to repair!
Living healthy is about making daily choices. There's no perfect framework for everyone, it's just about being informed and learning what works best for you!
Yours in health,