Hormones! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. These little chemical messengers are responsible for making sure our bodily functions and processes work. However, research is discovering an increasing link between your gut biome (all those lovely little bacteria in your gut) and your hormones. More specifically, the role your gut biome has in influencing your hormones.
What is your gut biome? (Quick recap)
Your gut biome is a community of trillions of micro-organisms that live in every nook and cranny of your gastro-intestinal tract, although the majority live in your lower intestine.
It’s these micro-organisms, mainly bacteria of which there are hundreds of different strains, some good, some bad that play a vital role in your health and well-being. They play a key role in digestion, help absorb and manufacture nutrients. They also affect other bodily processes such as brain function, metabolism, weight, immune regulation and mood.
Gut health and hormones – the missing link
According to the 2019 research paper ‘The Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Host Metabolism through the Regulation of Gut Hormone Release’ by Alyce M. Martin, Emily W. Sun, Geraint B. Rogers, and Damien J. Keating: “specialised enteroendocrine cells in the mucosal lining of the gut synthesise and secrete hormones that facilitate a range of key physiological processes.” This includes metabolic processes such as fat storage, appetite and glucose tolerance, as well as the production of stress hormones, thyroid hormones and oestrogen.
Dr Sara Gottfied, MD, author of ‘The Hormone Reset Diet’ wrote in her blog that: “Your gut microbiome regulates your hormones and for your hormones to be balanced, your gut microbiome should be balanced.”
Why could my gut biome be unbalanced?
There are a million and one reasons why your gut biome could be out of whack. And it can happen to any one of us at any time of life.
There are, however, a few obvious factors such as weight, age and diet cited as the most likely causes. Even genetics can play a part.
Interestingly, the 2019 research paper mentioned above found that moving from a non-Western culture to a Western culture had an almost immediate effect on the gut biome’s diversity. In turn, this resulted in a decrease of the enzymes available to digest plant fibre.
How does an unbalanced gut biome affect you?
I have written previously about the link between gut health and your mental health. And although current research hasn’t 100% proved the connection. It is entirely possible to suggest that your gut biome can impact your mental health.
When your hormones are unbalanced due to an unbalanced gut biome you could also have problem with fertility and your thyroid function.
Your hormones, gut and thyroid
My previous blog on low energy talks about the link between your hormones and thyroid function, but there is also a third link. And yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s gut health. If your gut health is unbalanced it will affect your hormones which will, in turn, affect your thyroid function. So, if you are suffering from low energy due to thyroid issues, maybe you should look at your gut health as a first step to remedying it.
There is a specific collection of bacteria in your gut biome called the ‘estrobolome’. It’s these little bacteria that metabolise and control oestrogen production. And unfortunately, an unhealthy gut can lead to oestrogen production going out of control. This leads to too much oestrogen being produced which, in turn, can result in increased PMS symptoms, irregular periods, acne and PCOS.
How can I look after my gut health?
My article on the gut biome has seven steps you can take to improve the health of your gut flora. However, there are a couple of other things you can do too:
Reduce your consumption of alcohol. This is because it affects your gut health by encouraging harmful bacteria to grow over the helpful bacteria
Whether you increase your outdoor activities or take a daily supplement, an increased amount of Vitamin D can help promote good gut health.
Until next time darlings.
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