Healthy gut = happy mind
Do you suffer from hot flashes, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, acne, irregular periods, or are you perimenopausal and your hormones are getting the best of you?
What your doctor might not have told you is that your gut directly impacts your hormones.
In this article we will talk specifically about dysbiosis, diet and estrogen dominance.
By the end of this article I will give you the tools to identify how your hormonal issues are being caused by imbalances in your gut, and solutions to healing your gut to balance your hormones naturally, so you can start feeling like yourself again.
Getting to the root cause is the name of the game, so let’s get started!
1) First, a lesson in estrogen basics
Estrogen is produced all over the body, however a woman’s main source of estrogen is from the ovaries. When the ovaries produce estrogen it is sent all over the body where it carries out important functions in the body including but not limited to: Regulating the menstrual cycle, keeping skin soft and healthy, promoting healthy hair growth, and even works with vitamin D to build strong bones.
If our estrogen is too low women become at a high risk for bone break down (osteoporosis), sensitive, thin and friable skin (especially vaginal tissue), depression, poor concentration, hormonal issues, and much more.
If estrogen goes too high—which we see in a condition called estrogen dominance, for example—we see increases in bloating (water retention), premenstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, menstrual cramps, breast swelling and pain, irritability and depression (mood swings), headaches, low sex drive, fibroids, and a significantly increased risk of certain types of cancers—eg: Breast cancer, colon cancer and in men, prostate cancer.
Balance is key and this is where your gut comes into play.
2) Let’s start with estrogen break down basics
Our bodies are maintained in a delicate balance that is choreographed principally by our guts. Estrogen is produced and estrogen has to be removed from the body. Our bodies are experts at maintaining a balance and your lifestyle plays a pivotal role in this process.
We explored about how estrogen is produced, now let’s discuss how estrogen is eliminated:
How your microbiome affects your estrogen…
As estrogen circulates through your body, it eventually reaches your liver where it is broken down and is prepared for elimination. When your body is in its optimal state of health this goes off without a hitch, but if certain intestinal bacteria are present, something entirely different will happen.
Your microbiome intimately controls your hormonal balance.
If certain intestinal bacteria are present, you are at risk for significant alterations in your hormone levels.
Your liver’s job is to process substances so that they can be eliminated from your body. It does this through many different chemical pathways. Today we are going to focus on a pathway that is called the glucuronidation pathway (GP). The GP’s main gig is to help your body remove excess estrogens, carcinogens, and other toxic substances from your body.
When estrogen enters your liver it is processed by the GP, which inactivates the estrogen. The inactive estrogen passes into your intestinal tract where it is ready to be eliminated.
But this is where things can take a turn for the worse…
3) The Microbiome
Your gut is comprised of billions and billions of bacteria that we call the microbiome. The microbiome has a very important role in maintaining your health. It releases chemicals that regulate your mood, metabolism, and controls your estrogen levels.
There is an intimate relationship between our lifestyle and our microbiome. If you eat a diet that compromises the delicate balance in your gut flora, it can result in dysbiosis—or imbalance in your microflora.
The Gut Psychology Diet will provide you the tips and tools for how to eat, so that you may have an optimally healthy gut, but let’s start here with just a few basics:
Eat your way into a happy gut by including:
Eat your way into dysbiosis:
4) Gut Psychology and Estrogen Metabolism
If you have dysbiosis—a condition where your microflora are out of balance, you may start to observe changes in your entire sense of well-being.
In particular, your estrogen metabolism will change.
When your liver inactivates estrogen, remember that your estrogen is then released into your bowels to be eliminated. In a normal healthy state, you will eliminate that estrogen but if you are suffering from dysbiosis, here’s what happens:
Unfriendly bacteria—specifically Escherichia coli, Bacteroides species, and Clostridium perfringens—make an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which re-activates the estrogen in your gut. The reactivated estrogen gets reabsorbed into your body. This is called impaired estrogen metabolism and results in estrogen dominance.
Instead of taking birth control or using hormone replacement therapy, by getting your gut back into balance you can regulate your hormones AND enjoy the added benefit of optimizing your brain and mood regulating neurotransmitters, reduce your risk of estrogen-related cancers and do so much more!
5) I’m Ready To Get To Change My Life!
So here are the next steps:
The name of the game is balance.
The solution to your estrogen dominance and hormonal issues may be found in your gut.
In order to maintain great health, it is important to pay attention to your lifestyle. You do not have to eat an estrogen diet, or a hormone diet, but rather the goal is to increase your health. When you are healthy, your body will naturally find its perfect hormonal balance, in a way that no prescription pill ever could.
A healthy gut = a happy mind.
Congratulations on taking your first steps towards optimal wellness.
Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA
For further reading check out this article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4879184/
To learn more about Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA and her work, click here