As women, it’s important that we ensure our hormones and gut health are in check, and that can start by understanding estrogen.
So how is estrogen dominance even remotely related to gut health? The correlation is a lot stronger than you may think. First, let’s talk about the microbiome and its role in reducing inflamation. Piqued interest surrounding the importance of “gut health” has many talking about its role in chronic diseases. Modern medicine has finally begun to recognize the digestive system as a core component to the overall good health puzzle. Recent studies have shown a cause-and-effect relationship between the gut and many of our other systems (immune, neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, etc.).
Could this be the missing piece of information surrounding the rise in hormone-related disease and obesity? The reality is our hormones play a large part in our ability to gain and lose body fat. Elevated estrogen has specifically been linked to increased body fat and hormone-related disease. Only in recent years have hormones and the gut been linked.
One of the most common causes of weight gain and estrogen-dominate diseases could be a condition called leaky gut. Despite the forthcoming research, nutritionists and physicians often overlook the link between unsuccessful fat loss, imbalanced hormones and gut health. Read between the lines: We end up having to do our own research!
Leaky Gut and Estrobolome
Now, hang with me as I get a little nerdy! When the gut is stressed or damaged, it’s no longer able to function efficiently. The lining of the gut becomes porous and is unable to act as a “micro-filter.” Large particles begin to seep back into the bloodstream, creating chaos and inflammation.
An important part of our gut function is dependent on the health of our microbiome. This is our own unique “ecosystem” of bacteria that is much like our genetic fingerprint. When the good bacteria are disrupted, it creates a dysbiosis (bacteria imbalance) and is a major cause of leaky gut. All the bacteria within the digestive tract play an important role to keep the body functioning properly.
If leaky gut is present, it can negatively impact the hormone balance, specifically estrogen levels. When discussing estrogen dominance, there is a specific subset of bacteria to consider called estrobolome. This group of microbes are responsible for metabolizing estrogen. When dysbiosis occurs among these microbes, it may affect the body’s ability to excrete excess estrogen, which is then reabsorbed into the bloodstream, therefore, increasing circulating estrogen levels.
When balanced, estrogen plays an important role in fat deposition, bone cell turnover, glucose and lipid metabolism. On the flip side, elevated levels of estrogen in the body can be an increased risk of endometriosis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer and obesity.
What Can Alter Estrobolome?
The gut microbiome and estrobolome can be affected by many factors, both internal and external. It’s important to keep a happy gut to have a healthy body. Here are a few specific items that can trigger dysbiosis and leaky gut.
- Excess processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Excess sugar Stress
Is This Me?
If you’re now wondering about your own estrogen, here are 10 common signs you could be experiencing elevated levels. If you’re saying “yes” to any of the symptoms below, you may want to see a licensed medical practitioner to have your estrogen checked.
10 Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
- Irregular or abnormal periods
- Abdominal bloating or generalized water retention
- Mood swings
- Exaggerated premenstrual symptoms
- Swollen or tender breasts outside of PMS
- Hair loss
- Trouble sleeping and fatigue
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain
Tips to Balance Estrogen Levels Naturally
If you’re suffering from hormonal imbalances specific to estrogen, there are ways you can help yourself come back to balance naturally. It’s recommended that you first consult a physician, but the following are complementary approaches to ensure the body is functioning optimally.
- Keep the gut healthy and balanced.
- Partake in regular exercise 20 to 30 minutes four times per week.
- Consume healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil, salmon, etc.).
- Increase daily fiber to 25 to 30 grams per day.
- Limit processed sugars.
- Manage stress.
- Consume a balanced diet for lifestyle (no overeating or undereating).
Making lifestyle changes beyond your regular food and exercise routine can be scary and frustrating — no matter how you look, how much you can lift or how many times you hit the gym per week. If you’re suffering from estrogen dominance symptoms, the journey can be even more difficult. But taking charge of your health is always worth it.
As women, it’s important that we ensure our hormones and gut health are in check. Remember the value of balancing and nourishing your body, mind and gut to live your healthiest life possible.
Written by Dr. Megan Rigby, DNP for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Oxygen Magazine
Vitamin & Me: Balancing Estrogen + Gut Health
Our team at Vitamin & Me want to walk with you through your health journey. Hormone imbalance can wreak havoc on your wellness, mentally and physically, and can be difficult to maneuver, since often times we can’t control external factors like stress. Or life, for that matter.
What we can control, however, is how we nourish our bodies. That starts with strategic plating with vitamin-rich vegetables, omega-3 fats and satiating proteins. Then we can tackle nutritional deficiencies, since they leave the body more vulnerable to developing or perpetuating inflammation or illness. Adding a probiotic can be especially beneficial to maintain a happy microbiome, especially if you’re not a fan of kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut or other fermented foods.
Not sure where to start? Our founder Jessica Houston created this personalized vitamin quiz to get you started in the right direction. This unique matching technology pairs you with the best vitamins for your body is craving. Then, we’ll ship those supplements right to your door — easy!
If you’d like to talk to one of our health experts, reach out at email@example.com and we can answer your questions!
For more on women’s wellness and gut health, follow along @vitaminandme! See you there!