Research tells of a breathtaking claim that’s too incredible to be true: Our microbiome, all the microbes living in and on our body, is responsible for a large number of bodily reactions and conditions ranging from headaches, migraines, allergies, autoimmunity, weight gain, acne, skin rashes, yeast infections, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, immune challenges, even the way you sense pain.
Sounds like too much responsibility for something so small and invisible, right? In truth, what they lack in size, they make up for in number. Our gut, for example, is home to trillions of bacteria. The good ones, called probiotics, help maintain balance in our enzyme and hormone levels. Who would’ve thought that gut bacteria can have so much influence on bodily processes like blood sugar levels, mood, appetite, libido, energy, etc?
How does gut bacteria affect hormonal balance?
There’s this thing called estrobolome, a collection of microbes capable of metabolizing estrogens. It takes care of regulating the amount of estrogen circulating in the bloodstream through the creation of β-glucuronidase, an enzyme which breaks down estrogen into its “free”, or biologically active form. In people with a healthy balance of gut bacteria, the estrobolome produces just the right amount of beta-glucuronidase to maintain estrogen homeostasis.
What happens when things go wrong?
It’s a vicious cycle - hormonal imbalance causes gut problems, and gut problems causes hormonal imbalance. These problems usually start once the delicate balance of beneficial bacteria gets thrown off. Take for example the balance of estrobolome bacteria, once that balance tips too much β-glucuronidase is made. This causes estrogen to be reabsorbed and recirculated resulting to high levels of estrogen in the body. Estrogen dominance is not a good thing - it can lead to fibroids, cysts, cramps, PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, weight gain, etc. Being estrogen heavy also increases the risks of certain cancers like breast cancer and uterine cancer.
The reverse is also true. If too little β-glucuronidase is made it results to low estrogen levels, which can lead to problems in bone density, brain cognition, cardiovascular health, etc.
The best way to support healthy gut bacteria is to be very careful about what you eat and drink. Here are some tips:
- It’s best to eat organic food - otherwise you might be ingesting pesticides and herbicides unknowingly. Ingesting environmental chemicals can affect the balance of your gut bacteria.
- Consider your choice of birth control - the pill is known to promote candida overgrowth and influence your hormonal balance as well.
- Stay away from foods that promote bacterial imbalance - some examples are dairy, sugar, and gluten.
- Take probiotics - pro tip: Lactobacillus Acidophilus helps lower β-glucuronidase.
- Eat fermented foods - foods like yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut have live healthy bacteria that can help promote better gut bacterial balance.
- Eat a lot of fibre - it help promote a better balance in the flora of your gut. Eat more veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
- Take our Gut & Hormone balance pack, designed to strengthen digestion, remove excess hormones and balance hormones.
By taking care of your gut health, you also support better hormonal balance.