Healthy Estrogen Levels and Gut Health
We’ve heard the praise and read the research. We know the power of a healthy gut microbiome and the influence that it can have on our physical and mental health. But did you know that the gut microbiome also influences the regulation of estrogen levels within the body? And that because of its impact on estrogen levels, it can increase or decrease the risk of developing an estrogen-related issue down the road? Here is how gut health and hormone health are connected and what that means for your well-being.
What is the role of estrogen in the body?
Let’s learn a little bit about estrogen. Estrogens are hormones that are essential for reproductive and sexual health. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, and is also produced by fat cells and the adrenal gland. Estrogen is more widely recognized for its role in developing breasts, regulating the menstrual cycle, controlling lactation, and managing other pregnancy- and birth-related bodily functions. What is less known is that estrogen is also essential for rebuilding bones, it plays a role in blood clotting, and it can even affect your skin, hair, cardiovascular health, and brain function. That’s a lot! So what happens when your estrogen levels are off-balance?
What’s the connection between estrogen and the gut?
Let’s get a little more scientific in order to better describe the gut-estrogen connection. The estrobolome is the collection of microbes capable of metabolizing estrogens. The estrobolome affects circulating and excreted estrogen levels in the body. When the gut microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome is able to maintain stable estrogen levels. When there is an issue with the gut microbiome, this can produce either a deficiency or an excess of free estrogen, promoting the development of estrogen-related diseases. Simply put, a healthy gut leads to healthier estrogen levels.
How can you improve your gut health?
To avoid unhealthy estrogen levels, a healthy gut is the way to go. The good thing is that we have the power to change our gut microbiome in a positive way without invasive surgery, excessive medication, or other habits that would require extra funds or special equipment. You can take care of your gut by adding the following things to your daily routine:
- Take probiotics and prebiotics daily
- Eat fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir
- Follow a healthy diet full of vegetables and legumes
- Eat less sugar and reduce your intake of processed food
- Reduce stress in your personal and work life (this one is HUGE!)
- Exercise regularly and get your body moving
- Get the recommended amount of sleep for your age
Are regulated estrogen levels the only benefit of a healthy gut?
Trillions of microbes exist inside your intestines and on your skin, and most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a pocket of your large intestine. In this pocket, there up to 1,000 species of bacteria and each of them play a role in your health. There are actually more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, so it makes sense why it has such a huge impact on our overall well-being. Research has indicated that a healthy gut can have a positive impact on many aspects of your physical and mental health, such as improving mood, helping to maintain a healthy weight, enhancing nutrient absorption, promoting immune health function, and can fending off various types of disease.
It’s pretty amazing what our gut can do. It’s important now more than ever that we take care of our minds and our bodies and make healthy habits a part of our everyday lives and not just practice a fleeting trend of the month. Taking care of our guts and ensuring that we are reflecting good gut habits in our daily lives can help us stay healthy and happy now and in the future. Gut health is connected to a lot of things, but it’s pretty powerful how we can alter our gut to improve our estrogen levels, don’t you think?