How your gut health impacts your hormones.
You probably already know that “all disease begins in the gut” this is nothing new and this hypothesis has been around for a very long time.
What if I told you that hormone imbalance starts in the gut?
There is new research to suggest that the gut microbiome is now considered an endocrine gland as it control, inhibits and supports hormone imbalance.
According to an article on the role of GI hormones on gut mucosal growth “Gastrin, secretin, and cholecystokinin (CCK) were the first discovered gut hormones, and as of today, there are more than 50 gut hormone genes and a multitude of bioactive peptides, which makes the gut as the largest endocrine organ of the body” (1).
Another high profile hormone gherlin is also produced in the gut “Ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary…and plays an important role in the regulation of food intake (and) energy homeostasis..(gherlin is also responsible for) lack of sleep is also associated with an increase in ghrelin levels and a decrease in leptin levels (leptin being your satiety hormone). Thus making you sleep deprived, have an increase in hunger and a decrease in knowing when you’re actually full.
In contrast our own bodies probiotics help to balance our blood sugar, support our immune system, regulate our moods and even boost our metabolism.
However, if you’ve recently (say in the last 10 years) taken just one dose of a broad spectrum antibiotics, this would have destroyed up to 90% of your gut bacteria, leaving it like a desert without any sign of an oasis.
If this is the case, don’t panic! Start building back your gut bacteria by eating a clean diet, free of refined foods and sugars, limit inflammatory foods to the bare minimum (preferably cut them out all together) and start with a good quality probiotic supplement.
If we are consuming inflammatory foods (such as sugar, vegetable oils, fried foods, refined flours, dairy, artificial sweetners-sugars, saturated fats etc) this will almost certainly lead to “leaky gut” and allow food particles to enter the blood stream, causing inflammation and irritation.
Why does this matter? Well it matters because a number of vital hormones are made in the gut.
Seratonin, whilst not a hormone, although some refer to it as one, (its actually a neurotransmitter) affects mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function, between 80-90% of it is made in the gut and is the precursor to melatonin – our “get good sleep” hormone.
Your gut microbiome can have a significant effects on regulating your hormones – in particular estrogen. Estrogen dominance can be as a result of a poorly functioning microbiome. Here we see estrogen dominant symptoms coming in – heavy bleeding, infertility, PCOS, low libido, cramps.
“A poor internal ecosystem caused by bad diet, exposure to chemicals and stress, will suppress the good bacteria, promote the bad bacteria, and will lead to a toxic build up of hormones as well as other signs of systemic inflammation” (2).
Exposure to xenoestrogens (foreign estrogens) in plastics and pesticides on our food, as well as chemicals in feminine hygiene product (bleaches and dyes in tampons and sanitary pads) can all throw our systems out of whack and create a chemical cascade that leads to potential hormone imbalances.
But how do I know if I have a damaged ecosystem or “leaky gut”. There are some tell tail signs:
- Gas and bloating
- Foul smelling poop
- Difficulty losing weight
- Brain fog
- Frequent colds and flu
Yes! having a damaged ecosystem can prevent you from losing weight, and optimizing your hormones!
Here are just 5 simple steps you can take today to help your optimize your hormones and heal your gut:
- Get rid of the white foods – sugar, refined flours, dairy.
- Add in pre & probiotics to your diet – sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha (low sugar please), pickles (no sugar please), raw onions, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke.
- Take a good quality probiotic (not one from Costco or your local pharmacy please).
- Drink water (not from the tap please!) choose to drink filtered water to further reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens, the birth control pill and any HRT that happens to be floating around in your water system.
- Choose organic feminine hygiene products which have not been dyed and use no chemicals in their making.
Do you think you have a “leaky gut”? Do you suffer from any of the tell tail signs? Leave me a comment so we can chat about it.
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