The Connection Between Gut Health
& Hormones

Are you in your 40s and feeling off balance? The answer could be in your gut!

What we hope you’ll gain from reading this is a better understanding of the important role of gut health and how it affects hormone balance. We’ll discuss:

  • Dysbiosis
  • The gut microbiome
  • The liver’s role in estrogen metabolism, and
  • Some simple holistic steps to achieve better gut health!

Maintaining a healthy gut is important for hormone balance because the gut is closely connected to the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production and release. Specifically, the gut produces and regulates hormones that affect metabolism, inflammation, and mood, among other things.

When the gut is unhealthy or imbalanced, it can lead to hormonal imbalances that can cause a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, and irregular periods. This is particularly common in women in their 40s– because this is when many women experience perimenopause, which is a time of hormonal fluctuation and change.

Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, where there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria or a reduction in beneficial bacteria. The gut microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms that reside in the gastrointestinal tract and play an important role in various physiological processes, such as digestion, immune function, and metabolism.

When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, it can have negative effects on our health, including weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Here’s how:

1. Weight gain: The gut microbiome can influence our metabolism and how we process food. Studies have shown that an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to increased inflammation and insulin resistance, which can contribute to weight gain. Additionally, certain bacteria in the gut have been shown to extract more energy from food, leading to increased calorie absorption and weight gain.

2. Estrogen dominance: The gut microbiome also plays a role in hormone regulation, including estrogen. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut microbiome, can contribute to a range of perimenopause symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.

3. One of the main ways that dysbiosis can affect perimenopause symptoms is through its impact on estrogen metabolism. Certain bacteria in the gut play a crucial role in estrogen metabolism. Ones, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, have been shown to play a role in estrogen metabolism, while other bacteria may promote the growth of harmful estrogen metabolites. Dysbiosis can disrupt the balance of these bacteria, leading to an accumulation of harmful estrogen metabolites in the body. These metabolites can contribute to perimenopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.

4. In addition, dysbiosis can lead to inflammation in the gut, which can contribute to systemic inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of perimenopause symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog.

5. Dysbiosis can also impair the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and GABA, which are involved in regulating mood and sleep. This can contribute to mood swings and insomnia, which are common perimenopause symptoms.

6. Finally, dysbiosis can contribute to nutrient deficiencies, which can affect overall health and exacerbate perimenopause symptoms. For example, low levels of vitamin D and magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of hot flashes and mood swings.

7. In summary, dysbiosis can contribute to a range of perimenopause symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia, through its impact on estrogen metabolism, inflammation, neurotransmitter production, and nutrient deficiencies. Promoting a healthy gut microbiome through dietary and lifestyle interventions can help reduce the risk of dysbiosis and improve perimenopause symptoms.

The liver is another gut health contributor that also plays a critical role in hormone balance, including the balance between estrogen and progesterone. It’s responsible for processing and eliminating excess hormones, including estrogen, from the body.

Estrogen is broken down into several different metabolites in the liver, some of which are more active than others. The liver then eliminates these metabolites through bile and urine. If the liver is functioning properly, it can effectively eliminate excess estrogen from the body, helping to maintain a healthy balance between estrogen and progesterone.

However, if the liver is sluggish or overwhelmed, it may not be able to process estrogen efficiently. This can lead to an accumulation of estrogen in the body, which can contribute to estrogen dominance.

A sluggish liver can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor diet, exposure to toxins, and certain medications. When the liver is unable to eliminate excess estrogen, it can contribute to a range of symptoms, including weight gain, bloating, mood swings, and irregular periods.

So, the liver plays a critical role in hormone balance, particularly in balancing estrogen and progesterone. If the liver is sluggish, it can lead to estrogen dominance, which can contribute to a range of symptoms and health issues. Also, dysbiosis can lead to weight gain and estrogen dominance by disrupting the balance of the gut microbiome and altering important physiological processes. It is important to maintain a healthy gut microbiome through a balanced diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits to prevent these negative health effects.

Ok, great! So, what can you DO?

There are several simple things you can do to improve your gut health, promote healthy gut bacteria, and support your liver:

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help support a healthy gut microbiome. Include foods that are high in fiber, as these can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and alcohol, as these can be harmful to the gut microbiome.

2. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help flush toxins out of the liver and support healthy liver function.

3. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve digestion and promote healthy gut bacteria. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

4. Reduce stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the gut microbiome and affect liver function. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

5. Get enough sleep: Getting adequate sleep is important for overall health, including gut and liver health. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

6.Limit exposure to toxins: Avoid exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides, and pollutants, which can be harmful to the gut and liver.

In summary, making healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and limiting exposure to toxins can help improve gut health, promote healthy gut bacteria, and support liver function.

If you’ve been living with any of the symptoms mentioned, we can help you figure out where the imbalance is, and what’s causing it! Working with clients, we often see gut health as a contributor, but there are many factors that could be keeping you stuck! If you’re ready to figure out what’s going on with your body, click below to book an assessment 💚 

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