As gut health becomes increasingly popular in both functional and conventional worlds of medicine, more and more people are becoming educated about the importance of cultivating a healthy microbiome for longevity and health.
Did you know that the bacterial colonies of your gut are directly linked to your hormone health as well? This involves your estrobolome otherwise known as your estrogen microbiome.
These two systems, your microbiome and your estrobolome are intricately interconnected! They work together and effect the amount of circulating estrogen that moves throughout your body. The estrogen ends up downstream affecting your sex drive, mood and weight.
Why does hormone health matter?
Hormones plays a vital role in your bodies overall health. Hormones are chemical messengers that when balanced, keep your body functioning mentally, physically, and emotionally. However when hormones are out of balance, symptoms arise.
Studies show that 80% of women struggle with hormone imbalance with up to 70% largely unaware that any hormone imbalances are at play. The majority of women that notice issues with their hormones cite PMS like symptoms. However, there are more extreme forms of reproductive health issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, infertility and cancer that affect women’s lives in more detrimental ways.
Signs of estrogen dominance include:
Sore breast tissue and fibrocystic breasts
If these symptoms are part of your struggle, it may be helpful to look upstream at root causes and one important yet often overlooked connection is tied directly to your GI health.
What is the estrobolome and how is it connected to the microbiome?
Your microbiome is directly connected to your estrobolome via the microbial community that lives inside you. The population of microbes that occupy your GI system also colonize your bladder and reproductive organs.
Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glads and fat cells and circulate in the bloodstream before they are broken down in the liver. This is known as phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification of estrogen.
It is through this process that estrogen get packaged up to be eliminated through stool.
This is where the estrobolome gets involved. AKA phase 3 of detoxification.
Heres the kicker. Your estrobolome contains organisms that either aids in the removal of estrogen or interferes with estrogen removal which then recirculates estrogen and leads to a host of estrogen related imbalances.
This process involves an enzyme called betaglucuronidase which is produced by the microbes that live in your gut. High betaglucuronidase levels are directly connected with an unbalanced microbiome and will aid in the reabsorption of estrogen rather than help your body to release it via the stool. This is no beuno!
This process often is connected to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance effects both women and men and is the result of unhealthy levels of estrogen circulating in the tissues. When estrogen becomes dominant, there is a lower amount of progesterone in circulation. This leads to many hormone imbalances.
9 Ways to Support your Estrobolome
Test dont guess
Shooting in the dark with supplements is costly and rarely works because there are many variables to take into consideration when charting a path forward. If you want to get a more comprehensive picture of your hormone statis, I would recommend using labs that look at both the pathways that estrogen is moving down and how it is being metabolized. There are labs that provide information pertaining to phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 of hormone detoxification. This can be accomplished with both hormone and GI testing. ta
Cut out sugar
Certain microbial strains that cause problems, like candida albicans, thrive on sugar, and when they’re well-fed, they tend to take over. If you get rid of sugar, they will play nicely with the strains that benefit you most.
Support your liver
Your liver plays a critical role in metabolizing estrogen. Similar to the way a pool filter cleans a pool by catching leaves, dirt and grime, the liver also detoxifies our bodies from chemicals and toxins found in food and our environment and it detoxifies our hormones as well. One of the livers important functions revolves around specifically removing excess hormones from the body such as estrogen.
Supporting the liver is key if you want to have smoother cycles and less pain. If your liver feels taxed, using therapies such as infrared saunas can provide amazing support for the liver as it stimulates toxins to move out of the body through the sweat which lightens the load on the liver. For more information on infrared sauna therapy see below.
Eat lots of fiber
Fiber is a essential component of a healthy estrobolome. Most people simply don’t get enough fiber daily. Shoot for 25- 35 grams and eat foods that feed good bacteria such as jerusalem artichoke, apples and flaxseeds. Wild yams,wild rice and quinoa are also great sources of fiber.
Bitters before meals
Consuming bitters are a helpful first step for people that have digestive issues. Bitters will stimulate the appetite and will get the gastric acid flowing while communicating with the liver. This is necessary for optimal digestion.
Dandelion greens, arugula, apple cider vinegar are all great bitter sources.
Eat the rainbow
Eating the spectrum of colors of vegetables will encourage biodiversity in your gut and will load your system with phytonutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain sulforafane which is a sulfur phytochemical that is quite helpful in the detoxification of estrogen.
Use a high quality probiotic and eat prebiotic and probiotic rich foods.
Prebiotic foods such as bananas, garlic, onion and asparagus provide the food that gut bacteria likes to eat. Probiotics such as fermented foods, will introduce benefical strains to the GI tract.
Eating food is ideal as an adjunctive support system for your gut health. If you are trying to create a therapeutic effect on your microbiota, probiotics that are specific for your body’s needs would be ideal. Thryve and Atlas are companies that analyze your microbiome and recommend probiotics based on your results for your specific needs.
Generally, Lactobacillus strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Gasseri and Bifido bacteria help to balance dysbiosis and enhance the excretion of conjugated estrogens. Please note, it is ideal to have multiple strains added in cases of dysbiosis.
Also, if you suspect that you have SIBO or other significant GI issues, consider consulting a practitioner before starting a probiotic as some probiotics can feed SIBO and create more problems than it solves.
Skip the alcohol
Alcohol effects the entire endocrine system and is shown to raise estrogen while also overtaxing the liver, which is responsible for detoxify your body. So unless you want to make your liver work harder, its best to skip the alcohol.
Use Targeted Supplements
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids promote the increase of butyrate producing bacteria and EPA supports the growth of lactobaccili. Omega 3s also increase the production of anti-inflammatory compounds in the gut. Food sources of Omega3 fatty acids are found abundantly in wild caught fish such as salmon and sardines.
Vitamin D3 changes the upper GI tract which results in a reduction in opportunistic pathogens and increases the bacterial diversity. It also regulates gastrointestinal inflammation and regulates innate and adaptive immune systems in the gut. VItamin D3 food sources include, cod liver oil, egg yolks and mushrooms.
Vitamin A influences the composition of the microbiome. It is required for protective immunity and is central to immune homeostasis in the gut. Food sources of Vitamin A are found in cod liver oil, eggs and yellow fruits and vegetables.
I will end this blog with a beautiful quote by Dr Mark Hyman:
“The food we eat not only feeds our cells, but also determines what kind of inner garden we are growing in our guts.”
With this quote in mind, please feed your bodies and honor them as temples, nourish your spirit and enrich your mind with wisdom.
Wishing you a Radiant Reality!
If you would like to reach out for more information, you can contact me at (707)9725893 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org