There has been a surge of interest in hormones and gut health. More specifically, the human microbiome (the collection of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract) and how these trillions of bacteria are crucial to our physiology and metabolism. Recent studies are making it more and more clear that the state of your gut, healthy or unhealthy, has a definite impact on your hormone levels. The state of gut health affects almost every physiological process in the human body.
An unhealthy gut causes hormonal disruptions and chronic inflammation which can precede serious diseases such as diabetes, depression, autism, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. The more good bacteria there are in the gut, the healthier we are. When the gut becomes imbalanced and has too many bad or harmful bacteria or an overgrowth of fungus, hormonal disturbances, inflammation, and other processes take place which can lead to serious disease. So gut health and hormones are most certainly connected.
Factors such as eating the wrong foods, taking antibiotics, not managing stress well, and not getting enough sleep can throw the microbiome out of balance. The harmful bacteria become more prevalent and this creates problems. There is new research showing that the microbiome plays a big role in estrogen regulation.
These studies indicate that poor gut health increases risk of estrogen related diseases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and even breast cancer.
Within the gut are the estrobolome. A collection of bacteria in the gut which is capable of metabolising and modulating the body’s circulating estrogen. The estrobolome affects estrogen levels, which in turn can impact weight, libido and mood. The estrobolome modulates the enterohepatic circulation of estrogens and affects circulating and excreted estrogen levels. Microbes in the estrobolome produce beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that deconjugates estrogens into their active forms. Beta-glucuronidase activity produces active, unbound estrogen that is capable of binding to estrogen receptors and influencing estrogen-dependent physiological processes.
In women, estrogens help regulate body fat, are essential to female reproductive function, cardiovascular health, bone health, and brain function (including memory). In men, estrogens aid in the maturation of sperm and maintenance of libido. Estrogen dominance leads to diseases such as estrogen-related diseases such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. In addition to estrogen, gut microbiota can also affect melatonin (which regulates sleep), norepinephrine and epinephrine (two hormones related to stress) and thyroid hormones. That means issues with your gut health could be linked to symptoms like chronic fatigue and weight gain.
According to Brett Enabnit RPh, TFM Functional Medicine Practitioner, "50% of women do not use the bathroom correctly; it leads directly to gut dysregulation". This means the microbiome of your gut is not balanced correctly leading to an array of "women's hormone" issues. "I am seeing more and more men come through out clinic, with the most common gut dysfunction, Acid Reflux. What does that mean? What does Acid Reflux mean? It means you are not balanced and you have inflammation in your gut causing the cells in your gut to excrete more acid than the should."
These problems don’t happen in a vacuum. Many people have been prescribed antibiotics since children, suffer high levels of stress regularly, and don’t eat a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet. Healing your gut and balancing hormones naturally might require time, patience, and work with a healthcare professional. At the same time, these strategies make a solid foundation to support gut health and restore hormone balance.
So how can we improve gut health and achieve hormone balance? At Traditional Family Medical Center we incorporate a functional medicine and holistic medicine approach with our patients. We combine lifestyle changes with hormone and peptide therapy to effectively correct hormone imbalance and support gut health. If you think you may have a hormone imbalance, or feel that your gut health could be impacting your health, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with one of our specialist.
2350 Whitesburg Dr
Huntsville, AL 35801