Is Your Gut Messing Up Your Hormones?

We all know the importance of an optimally functioning digestive system for having happy and healthy bowel movements, but did you know that it affects our hormones too? We generally think of our gut as the place where absorption of nutrients and regulation of the immune system happens. It’s not the first system many people think about when their hormones are out of balance. Well if you’ve been affected by irregular periods, acne or increased anxiety, you know how frustrating it can be! So, lets chat about what hormone can be affected if your digestive system is not working optimally.

You make estrogen, you use estrogen, and you are now done with that estrogen – but where does it go?

Estrogen goes through a 3-step detoxification process in order to leave the body. During this process hormones are packaged and passed into the gut to be excreted. If your digestive system is not working 100%, you may have high levels of an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. This enzyme can break apart the packaged hormones and cause them to re-circulate in the body. This can leave you with higher than wanted levels of estrogen in the body.

Common symptoms associated with elevated estrogen in the body:

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Bloating

  • Breast tenderness

  • Acne

  • Headaches

  • Mood swings

  • Weight gain

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Hair loss

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

 

Wondering how to lower beta-glucuronidase levels in the gut? Start by doing these 3 things:

(1) Take a probiotic: Certain gut bacteria make more beta-glucuronidase than others. If those bacteria are outweighing the beneficial bacteria due to poor dietary choices, antibiotics and other toxin/chemical exposures then you’ll have more beta-glucuronidase. So take your probiotics daily!

(2) Add more fiber in your diet: Fiber has been shown to bind estrogen in the gut and excrete it through stool. If you’re lacking fiber in your diet, add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to your next meal.

(3) Supplement with Calcium D-Glucarate: Calcium D-Glucarate is an effective treatment for estrogen dominance, especially due to elevated beta-glucuronidase, because it keeps estrogen bound up so that it can be excreted without re-circulating in the body. Speak with your ND to determine what dose of Calcium D-Glucarate will be right for you!

 

Interactions between you digestive system and your hormones are fundamental to your overall health, which is why imbalances can have such a significant impact on your overall well-being. As there are other conditions that share similar symptoms to the ones outlined above, I encourage you to work with a naturopathic doctor to get a thorough assessment with the necessary laboratory testing done.

Erin Enns