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How poor gut health contributes to your hormonal imbalance


Poor gut health – hormonal imbalance

After lots of extensive research in recent years, scientists now believe that the influence of gut microbiome (bacteria) goes far beyond digestive health. It affects your overall health and particularly your hormonal balance. This explains why there’s so much talk about gut health in wellness circles at the moment.

Why is gut health important?

Optimising your gut health is the best way to keep your hormones balanced. Gut health is so vital thanks to the following functions of the microbiome:

·       Helps the synthesis and hormonal and neurotransmitter regulation

·       Enables the absorption of macro and micronutrients

·       Performs a vital function in the immune system

·       Aids in the regulation of the body’s estrogen levels

Good health actually starts in the gut, but how exactly does poor gut health lead to hormonal imbalance?

Let’s jump straight into it:  

Estrogen reabsorption and recirculation in your body

Did you know that once estrogen is ‘deactivated’ by the liver, it is excreted through your bowel? But, if your gut lacks fibre to bind to and carry the estrogen out, it can be reabsorbed by the body and recirculated. This can lead to estrogen dominance (generally referred to as hormonal imbalance), resulting in symptoms such as heavy periods, fluid retention, PMS, breast tenderness and postmenopausal breast cancer. Solution? Eat high fibre foods like brown rice, fruits, legumes, cabbage, seeds, carrots, brussels sprouts, vegetables and psyllium husk.

Metabolization of estrogen and excess enzyme production

 Another factor that causes your hormonal imbalance is your microbiome or, more precisely, your estrobolome. When the microbes that form your estrobolome metabolize estrogen in the gut, they produce a certain enzyme. But if you’re experiencing dysbiosis (Gut flora imbalances) and an unbalanced estrobolome, this enzyme will be produced in excess. This can allow excess estrogen to be reactivated and recirculated throughout your body. That can result in symptoms of estrogen dominance (hormonal imbalance).

Worsens the low-estrogen state in post-menopausal women

When beta-glucuronidase producing-microbes cause gut microbiome to experience dysregulated activity, that may worsen the low estrogen in post-menopausal women. This can also affect estrogen levels in menstruating women and increase their chances of getting endometriosis  (expansion of the uterine lining to other organs). This may lead to further hormone dysregulation and the thickening of increased scar-like tissue that bleeds and causes pain during normal menstrual cycles. It can also lead to infertility.

Difficulty producing serotonin; the brain hormone

Poor gut health also impacts the ability of your body to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter or brain hormone which regulates your mood and appetite. Remember that 90% of your serotonin production happens in your gut. No wonder poor gut health can cause low moods and poor appetite! High estrogen levels also increase serotonin levels as well as the number of receptors in the brain.  To be clear, your estrogen levels reach their highest point at ovulation and go low before your period. Think of how your mood usually reduces while your hunger levels increase just before your period. During that period, both serotonin and estrogen levels are low.

Now you know how poor gut health can affect your hormonal balance. So, what can you do to prevent it from occurring? In the next article, you will learn how to improve your hormonal balance by improving your gut health.

Note that the above advice is general, so it may not work for everyone because everyone is different! Once you suspect that you have poor gut health or hormonal imbalances, consult a doctor.

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